September 1st, 2014

DooleyBall Is Done. Who's Next?

by ZachBingham


DooleyBall is officially done.

It was announced yesterday afternoon that after three seasons as Vols head coach, Derek Dooley would not return to Knoxville. But should this come as a surprise?

After firing Phillip Fulmer in 2008, Tennessee went looking for a new young hire. They found Lane Kiffin and got burned. To put out the firestorm, former athletic director Mike Hamilton decided on a name rather than a resume, again.

Derek Dooley 

Son of legendary Georgia head coach Vince Dooley, Derek was the one who would right the big orange ship. Instead, Rocky Top looked a lot like Derek’s previous stop. Dooley was hired from Louisiana Tech with a losing record, 17-20. Dooley was fired from Tennessee with a losing record, 15-21. There’s a trend.

Graduating with a law degree, Dooley was more of an administrator than a head football coach. More of a delegator than a motivator. In my opinion, it was a sub-par hire by a school that had the money, the history and will to win. 

Now new AD Dave Hart has a chance to, one, go out and get his guy, and two, make a name for himself to get on the side of the Volunteer Nation. Hart must now get a coach that has a worthy name and resume that gets a disappointed fan base excited to cheer and buy more Petros.

Here’s a list of candidates.

1 = not a chance

10 = ready to be interviewed


Jon Gruden - 0 - Just stop with this. Andy Reid is about to go and Gruden was the OC in Philly from 1995-1997. The Eagles have money, lots of money. The west coast offense won’t work in the SEC and Gruden likes studying film, not talking to parents. Calling Monday Night Football is a good gig….need I go on.


Charlie Strong - 8 - Strong has been an assistant in the SEC before and his success at Louisville (9-1) is not being recognized by anyone. In the SEC, it would.


Kirby Smart - 7 - Would be a good hire because Smart is a defensive guy and UTs defense was horrendous in 2012. Not many Vols fans want to break off another ‘Saban Branch’ because what happened with Dooley but Smart should get a look.


Gary Patterson - 3 - Patterson is more likely to pick up and go to Arkansas and take his defensive coordinator and Hog Alum Dick Bumpas with him.


Chris Pettersen - 2 - If he hasn’t left already, he’s not leaving for Knoxville. A west coast guy who has had much success would be a great splash, but not going to happen.


David Cutcliffe - 4 - Has given Duke a new look on the game we call football. Heading to a bowl game but Dave Hart wants his own guy, not old UT scraps.


Phillip Fulmer - 0 - Moving forward is not going backwards. Phil would love to get a look but this will not happen.


Al Golden - 8 - Golden didn’t expect the mess that was left on South Beach for him. This would be a slight step up to move into the SEC but can probably win more games in the ACC. Vols fans would welcome him.


Doug Marrone - 5 - Who is the Syracuse head coach for those who have never heard of him. I don’t think this would be a good hire but it wouldn’t surprise me because of the amount of money going out the door to former Rocky Top coaches. He would be cheaper – Dooley, Fulmer, Summitt, & Pearl.


Jimbo Fisher – 2 - Win in the ACC or lose in the SEC. Your choice Jimbo. 


*Wild Cards*

Mike Riley - Riley is the head coach at Oregon State and has a 5-1 bowl record. A DB at Alabama, he knows the SEC and wouldn’t be a pricey hire. 


Mike Leach - Things aren't fine and dandy at Washington State and Leach would bring you a high octane offense. Only problem is...UT needs defense.


Bobby Petrino - Too much risk. Petrino has proved that he can win in the SEC but rolling the dice on someone that has a history of leaving teams and blonde twenty-five year olds on the side of the road, isn't the answer for Tennessee.

Follow Zach on Twitter @Bada_Bingham

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